Venezuela Oil Sanctions More Likely as Tillerson Tours Region

BloombergU.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled the U.S. is closer to imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector, raising the pressure on President Nicolas Maduro as his talks with opposition leaders remained at an impasse.

Wrapping up a tour of Latin America and the Caribbean that focused on unifying the region against Venezuela, Tillerson said he has President Donald Trump’s backing for tougher restrictions against Maduro’s government. Tillerson said that while no final decision has been made, mitigating the impact of potential sanctions was high on his agenda during a stop Wednesday in Jamaica. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform policymakers and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.